Former ABC journalist Katie Couric will never forget her 2004 interview with Denzel Washington. While recently appearing on the “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” podcast, Katie, 63, said she was “uncomfortable” when the actor interrupted her multiple times. The scuffle started when the anchor asked Denzel, 65, if “Hollywood folks should stick to acting.”
“I don’t know what Hollywood folks are, first of all,” Denzel explained to Katie on Dateline while promoting his film The Manchurian Candidate. “Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don’t know anybody from there. So, I don’t — that’s like saying — calling you a ‘type’ of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”
The Emmy nominated journalist tried to rephrase her question. “Are you one of those people that —” she explained before her guest cut her off. “Ah, there you go. Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?” Denzel said.
However, Katie didn’t mean to come off as offensive. She tried to clarify her comment. “Oh, stop, stop, stop,” she quipped, but Denzel wasn’t having it.
“No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not,” he replied, and Katie agreed. The former ABC star tried to rephrase her question one last time. “No, are you an actor who would rather not —,” she said before Denzel interrupted again.
“No, I’m not that either,” he told the TV host. “I’m a human being. My job is acting.”
While recalling that moment to Danny, Katie said she didn’t know why the interview didn’t go smoothly. “I think he totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me. It was so uncomfortable because he was doing it with Meryl Streep …,” she explained. “I don’t think I said anything wrong … I don’t know what happened.”
“I think he must have been having a really bad day because he later wrote a really big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet,” the Blue Ribbon Day author continued. “I love him, I admire him so much. He’s one of my favorite actors, but I remember walking out and feeling really kind of shaken that he had kind of gone after me in a way that was completely, weirdly uncalled for.”